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Volkswagen has supposedly created a device that generates electricity from the wasted heat created by an internal combustion engine. The device, known as a thermoelectric generator (TEG), relies on the reaction of two different metals as heat passes through, thereby generating electricity. According to VeeDub, its TEG can generate an impressive 600 Watts, which is about 30% of the electrical needs of a Golf Plus and enough to reduce fuel consumption by over 5%. Last year, BMW won awards with a similar system that was able to generate about 200 Watts of power.

When gasoline is burned in an automobile, only about a quarter of the potential energy is turned into forward motion. The rest is wasted as heat. Automakers are keen to capture back a portion of these losses, but there's still a long way to go before a TEG like this is practical. Regardless, it's a technology that has plenty of promise if it's adopted on a large scale.

[Source: Gizmag]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I did an experiment for my physical chemistry class and everyone in my class got 5-15% efficiency for gasoline engines in cars, not 25%...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thermoelectrics are fabulously expensive, so they are definitely a long way off.

      Moreover, 600 Watts is equal to only 0.80 Horsepower, so any hope of using this energy for motive power is not practical. But it would save on the energy scavenged by the electrical system, as the article describes. 200 Watts might be enough to operate the lighting system, for instance.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I do research on TEG's at MSU!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I admit I'm kind of an idiot when it comes to anything science related, but I have wondered why a small steam engine couldn't be run off the hot exhaust gases?

      Hot goes out, generates steam in a closed loop system that creates electricity.

      Might not be enough to run a car but maybe enough to run the radio or keep the batteries charged.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's more efficient to use the hot exhaust gases to run a turbocharger instead.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a great use for all of this ethanol the corn lobby wants us to use. Instead of adding it to our fuel, how about we use it in a closed loop heat exchanger to generate power off of the exhaust. Liquid ethanol, to a vapor, drives a turbine, through another radiator and back.

      I thought BMW was working on something like this too.